Media Advisory July 15

The Kim Dotcom case has highlighted the need for New Zealand to review its extradition laws and improve aspects of its policing. Meanwhile, as he fights extradition to the United States, Dotcom has made several generous gestures to win the support of the New Zealand public. Waikato University law professor Neil Boister, an international law specialist, thinks the case is evenly balanced in legal terms. The Dotcom case will be the subject of his Inaugural Professorial Lecture, taking place at the university on July 23. Professor Boister says he chose the topic for his lecture a long time ago thinking the Dotcom case would be all wrapped up by now, but says it’s fascinating on many levels – how far the US and other western countries will go to maximise the protection of intellectual property, the complexity of police co-operation across borders, the man’s careful play to win over the public’s hearts and minds, and speculation on how the courts here in New Zealand will deal with him. Professor Boister’s lecture is at 6pm at the University of Waikato’s Academy of Performing Arts on Tuesday, July 23. It’s free and open to the public.

The University of Waikato is offering new Research Institute Scholarships for masters and doctoral students and applications close at the end of the month. There are six research institutes at the university and they are each offering a doctoral scholarship worth $22,000 a year plus tuition fees for three years' full time study, and a masters scholarship worth $12,000 that includes a fees component of $3,500 – 12 scholarships in all. The institutes support world-class research in environmental science, demography and economic analysis, business and leadership, professional learning and development, education, and Māori and indigenous development. For more information go to

Sheeba Asirvatham (from India) has been awarded the University of Waikato’s Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship, the Wilf and Ruth Malcolm Postgraduate Scholarship, and Kiri Cutting (from the US) has been awarded the second Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship for 2013. For her PhD, Sheeba is researching the career development and vitality of academic women in New Zealand. Kiri is focusing her PhD research on urban restoration ecology, looking at natural areas in Hamilton that have been degraded by human activities, and finding practical ways to restore them.

This week more than 200 North Island secondary school students will have the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a science or engineering student at the University of Waikato. The university’s Faculty of Science and Engineering is geared up to host the annual Engineering Open Day (Thursday, July 18) and Science Open Day (Friday, July 19). Both events offer Year 11-13 students and adult learners the chance to spend the day on campus, attending hands-on workshops. Engineering Open Day will cover the programmes of chemical and biological, mechanical, software, materials and process, and electronic engineering. Activities will include analysing computer programs for ‘hotspots’, and using electronics to make wooden mouse traps more reliable. Science Open Day will cover physics, chemistry, earth and ocean sciences and biological sciences. Activities include improving flight characteristics of paper planes using physics and learning the ways in which biology relates to our five senses. Registrations for both events have closed. A full programme for each event is available on request. 

A multi award-winning and consciousness-raising documentary on the bitter-sweet world of chocolate will have its New Zealand premiere at the University of Waikato on July 25. Nothing like Chocolate, by visiting University of California Professor and part-time filmmaker Kum-Kum Bhavnani, tells the story of a quirky chocolate-maker, Mott Green, who set up a chocolate company partly because he heard of children being trafficked and enslaved in the Ivory Coast, which produces over one third of the world’s cocoa. Narrated by Susan Sarandon, Nothing like Chocolate has claimed many awards including ‘Best Documentary’ Award at the ITN Los Angeles Film Festival and was nominated for ‘Best Documentary’ at the prestigious Milan International Film Festival. The director is visiting the university to write her third collaborative book with Political Science Associate Professor Priya Kurian and Management Communication Professor Debashish Munshi. Nothing like Chocolate will screen at the university on Thursday, July 25, from 5.30–8.30pm in room S1.04. A further screening will run at the Tauranga Campus on Monday, July 29 at the Bongard Centre, Lecture theatre 104, with a 6pm start. Both screenings are free and open to the public.

Hobbits, mental health, the arts and education all feature in the University of Waikato’s Winter Lecture Series. The lectures are on every Wednesday in August and bring together the latest university research and experts from the community to promote robust discussion on a series of topics.
August 7 - An Unexpected Result: The Business of Hobbits. Tourism heads and researchers discuss the benefits to the region of having parts of The Hobbit movies filmed here. Speakers: Hamilton & Waikato Tourism head Kiri Goulter, Matamata PR Association manager Sue Whiting, and University of Waikato’s Dr Carolyn Michelle, who’s been carrying out worldwide research on perceptions of The Hobbit.
August 14 - It’s All in Your Head: Understanding More about Mental Health. Speakers: Denise L’Estrange-Corbet - a long time mental health campaigner - will be joined by Waikato University researchers Associate Professor Cathy Coleborne and Dr Nicola Starkey.
August 21 - Class Struggles: Is Our Education on Track? Speakers: Educational experts Drs Noeline Wright and Bill Ussher and Associate Professor Deborah Fraser.
August 28 - A Star is Born: How Hamilton’s Arts Scene Has Come of Age. Speakers: Creative Waikato head Sarah Nathan, arts patron Sir James Wallace and university art collection curator Steph Chalmers.
The Winter Lecture Series is held in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. Lectures are free, open to the public and run from 6pm to 7pm all four Wednesdays in August.

Career professionals, seeking a change or wanting to upskill, can now study for a career-specific masters degree at the University of Waikato Management School. The school is offering year-long Master of Professional Management degrees in Agribusiness, Finance, Public Relations and International Hospitality Management, starting in T-Semester (November) this year. The 180 point masters degrees are for people who already have an undergraduate degree but who now want specialist knowledge in a specific area. The degrees are made up of 10 high-level papers that cover core knowledge and skills, move on to advanced professional knowledge and finish with either an applied research project or internship.

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